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Published: 07 May 2022

By Andy Ross

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The elephant that fell

Tuffi was a circus elephant but one with an extraordinary story. 

In 1951, as part of a publicity stunt to advertise the forthcoming visit of the circus, Tuffi was loaded on the monorail in the German town of Wuppertal. As you can imagine, this environment did not suit Tuffi and the inevitable happened. The pachyderm fell out of the carriage into the river below, and achieved immediate notoriety. A manipulated photograph shows what the incident may have looked like and you can see this and other photographs of Tuffi here. 

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman read his poem from the latest book called After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad - about Tuffi  - how to panic an elephant - Wuppertal 1951 - to an appreciative audience in Runanga on the 7th May, both in English and then in German. The German version would make a fantastic song for a future concert. Plans are afoot...